Houses May One Day Heat Themselves

Some new, high-tech materials may one day save you a fortune in home heating and cooling bills by allowing your home to regulate its own temperature.

The materials, called microencapsulated phase change materials (MPCMs), are capable of storing and releasing large amounts of energy, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan.

MPCM absorb or release a great deal of heat as they transition from solid to liquid and vice versa.

Other building materials can hold heat, of course, but nothing on the market has the ability of MPCMs to store a lot of energy. In fact MPCMs store five to 14 times more heat per unit volume than conventional storage materials such as water, masonry or rock.

This gives them the ability to use natural energy sources (like the sun) to much greater effect than conventional materials – allowing you to regulate the temperature of your home with significantly less electricity, heating oil, gas or other expensive energy sources.

The potential of these materials is great, but thus far they’ve mainly been used in large, industrial applications. Don’t look for them at the home center yet, in other words.

But the experts say that this may soon change — depending on the future cost of energy, and the success researchers have in developing cost-effective applications for MPCMs.

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